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Searching for that Buffett state of mind

I took off for a weekend last month for the Jimmy Buffett Labor Day weekend show in Chicago.

A Mississippi native, Buffett sang those Steve Goodman lyrics to close out a spirited show dedicated to the endless tide of Hurricane Katrina victims. The Labor Day weekend show was historic ” it was the first concert at Wrigley Field since it opened in 1914. The performance was also the second Buffett show I attended in a five-day stretch.



It’s safe to say I saw enough Hawaiian shirts and leis to shake an hibiscus branch at, not to mention hairy-chested men wearing coconut bras. Yikes.

Nearly 25,000 Parrotheads wasted away at the Wednesday night show in Indianapolis. Last Sunday’s performance, which was the first of two Labor Day shows at Wrigley, hosted 34,500 people.



Let’s do the math.

In 2005 alone, I was surrounded by almost 60,000 Parrotheads. I think they’ve rubbed off on me. Don’t tell my editor, but the idea of work has lost some of its appeal. Cheeseburgers with Heinz 57, margaritas with salt, and beach houses on the moon cloud my mind.

And what I really keep wondering is, why isn’t Jimmy Buffett president?

Come on, imagine the possibilities. Work attire would be not only be casual, it would be full-on beach wear. This concept would shrink America’s growing waistlines because bathing suit season would be year-round. Everyone knows how mortifying it is to sport fat rolls in a bikini or Speedo.

To the delight of Johnny Depp, the nation’s Navy vessels would be converted into pirate ships. Nobody messes with a big bad boat flying a black flag emblazoned with skull and cross bones, except maybe Peter Pan.

Best of all, Buffett could auction off his autographed memorabilia to help decrease the nation’s unthinkable $7.9 trillion deficit. His autographed Cubs jersey from the Labor Day show is going for $12,600 on eBay. As part of his Fins Up For Charity auction, Buffett will donate 100 percent of the final sale price to the American Red Cross. Just think what his countless guitars, boat shoes and terry cloth arm bands he wears at every show could do for the citizens of the United States.

Of course, the world is always a better place during the three or four hours spent at a Buffett show. I’ve been lucky enough to see him live in Indy; Columbus, Ohio; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and now, Chicago. Everyone is in a Buffett state of mind and having the time of their lives, except when they’ve lost their friends in the crowd. After all, everyone is dressed alike.

The last time I lost someone at a show (actually it was Wednesday) here’s how it went:

“I can’t find my friends,” I cried.

“What are they wearing?” a stranger asked.

“A Hawaiian shirt,” I said. “And maybe a coconut bra by now.”

“Sorry about your luck,” the stranger replied.

And so it goes in Buffett Nation. You usually aren’t adrift for long, but it is a little like searching for that lost shaker of salt. Or the train they call The City of New Orleans.


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